I had a distressing conversation today with the director of our affiliated group in Phoenix, the Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice. Trina (Rev. Trina Zelle, the group's lead organizer) shared with me how a friend, who is a Latino U.S. citizen, was pulled over recently in Phoenix. When he pulled out his driver's license, the cop demanded to see his birth certificate. Expressing his surprise over why he would even be asked for it (who travels with their birth certificate?), the cop stated, "Well, you look like an illegal."
This is just one of hundreds of stories emerging from the fallout after Arizona passed one of the most harmful laws in our country's history. Along with criminalizing all undocumented immigrants in Arizona, it requires that state and municipal employees check the documentation status of those they have "reasonable suspicion" to believe are undocumented.
We are gravely concerned that more people will continue to experience such racial profiling and violation of human rights. Now more than ever we need to not only call for a repeal of this horrific law in Arizona, but work harder for the passage of full Comprehensive Immigration Reform. With 10 or 11 other states currently on the verge of introducing legislation similar to Arizona's, it is only with a complete overhaul of our broken immigration system that we will be able to prevent future harm to our country's immigrant population and the erosion of our civil liberties and human rights.